Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Vale Arthur C Clarke

Arthur C Clarke, one of the greatest science fiction writers the world will ever see, has passed away. Details of his life and works can be found at Wikipedia.

He has given the world a body of terrific work that will be valued forever. I have quite a few of them myself, including an absolutely wonderful collection of his short stories. I'm halfway through the Rama series and hoping to continue on with it this year. I also love the Space Odyssey series, and The City and the Stars has always been a personal favourite.

Clarke's works have always been very quotable. Here are some pearls of wisdom:

"Sometimes I think we're alone in the universe, and sometimes I think we're not. In either case, the idea is quite staggering. "

"Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living."

"It may be that the old astrologers had the truth exactly reversed, when they believed that the stars controlled the destinies of men. The time may come when men control the destinies of stars."

"And because, in all the galaxy, they had found nothing more precious than Mind, they encouraged its dawning everywhere. They became farmers in the fields of stars. They sowed and sometimes they reaped. And sometimes, dispassionately, they had to weed."

And here are Clarke's three laws of prediction:

  1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
  2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
  3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
RIP Arthur C Clarke.

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